Swiping For Love: Why Are Men Ignoring The Red Flags?
Swiping For Love: Why Are Men Ignoring The Red Flags?

In our weekly series exploring men in love, or attempting to be in love, we delve into what constitutes a red flag and why men are drawn to it like a Spanish fighting bull.

Men have this innate feeling in them to rebel against the norm. Stick a fork in the power socket, climb a tree a squirrel wouldn’t dare to, jump the signal at the traffic, ignore red flags, both literally and metaphorically. I’ve seen men do dumb things throughout my life, but nothing breaks my heart more than losing a bro to a toxic situation. But why do we do this?


There are two things at play – patriarchy and psychology. The former gives us an unprecedented amount of privilege, or rather audacity. Reflect back and think about how many times your parents said no to you compared to your sister or a female friend. But patriarchy is a double-edged sword, which we’ll get to later. The more scientific side of things tells us about a phenomenon called ‘Confirmation Bias,’ where you tend to (regardless of gender) ignore the potential shortcomings of a person and still barge in like an idiot. It is exactly how Wanda from Netflix’s Bojack Horseman puts it, “when you look at someone through rose-coloured glasses, all the red flags just look like flags.”



But, why voluntarily submit to heartbreak and rack up a bill of thousands in therapy? This is where the sword of patriarchy stabs in the back, or rather the groin. Patriarchy teaches men to be stoic and invulnerable like a rock (also like the actor). As we push our emotions down the blender, an ugly slurry of insecurity, abandonment issues, and lack of self-esteem pops up. This is why we hold on to things that do us more harm than good, like supporting Manchester United for the last twenty years.


So, how do we save ourselves? Well, start paying attention to those big red flags, boys. To give you an IRL anecdote, I re-entered the dating game some two years back, fresh off a more than half-a-decade-long relationship. At the very beginning of my (emotional) hoe phase, I started seeing someone who described her relationship with her ex as “complicated.” Desperate for love, I obviously ignored the Eiffel Tower-sized red flag. After a few months of dating, the said person had ghosted me, citing a very brief text saying that “her boyfriend had moved back.” I had experienced the male version of “I can fix him”. Another time on a different date, they mentioned they’re into knife play and followed it up with asking about my blood group on our first date. I blocked her post-coffee.


Image Credits – Fox Searchlight Pictures


Since then, I’ve built filters or boundaries. Today, there are a few red flags that immediately get flagged and addressed. For instance, since my work involves a fair bit of travel, it doesn’t always allow me to maintain the 9 to 5 schedule, or sometimes weekends. Thus, I tend not to engage with someone who needs a lot of time together. A natural want, of course, but I’d rather not promise something I cannot commit to.


As for our Men in Man’s World office, things are varied. My 32-year-old colleague tells me about his big and small red flags, which vary from “not being a foodie” to “being Islamophobic, homophobic, and lacking knowledge on basic humanitarian issues.” Similarly, our 23-year-old Assistant Editor, Ravi Kumar, explains his red flags, which involve “talking about themselves excessively on the first date and using therapy-speak in conversation.”


Image Credits – Focus Features, Universal Pictures


For our 28-year-old Social Media Manager and Fashion Writer, Rohit Kamble, the biggest turn-off is talking excessively about their exes. The sentiment is echoed by one of my industry friends, Siddharth, an automotive journalist as well, who went on to share a similar experience as I mentioned above. For some, though, even the basics would do. An anonymous journalist friend who chose to go by the name of “Hardik N Pants” (a different person than Hugh Erickshun) explains, his amber flags: “Bad grammar, both in Hindi and English is a huge turn-off. I cannot engage with someone who “types lyk dis,” he says.


Hardik N Pants and I also went through a similar red-flag situation where we were asked about how much we make. Both of us flagged and unmatched our respective persons, partly because automotive journalists get paid in nuts and bolts and partly because of more mature reasoning, or at least that’s what we’d like to believe.


Jokes apart though, it is not too much to address your feelings and be honest about them, no matter how attractive the other person is. Your needs and priorities are important. Being dishonest to them is only going to harm both parties. But just like everything, it needs time and a therapist on a retainer. Until then, boys, don’t jump the signal.

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